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Cost of Living in Netherlands for International Students

Cost of Living in Netherlands for International Students
Shishant KumarDec 29, 2022

Cost of living in Netherlands for International Students

According to “Study in NL,” an initiative of the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic), an international student spends €800-€1,100 a month (€9,600-€13,200 a year) on the cost of living in the Netherlands. Although a monthly expenditure of €800-€1,100 is not the cheapest, it is less expensive than in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. This makes the Netherlands one of the less expensive study destinations for international students.

This cost of living excludes tuition and only includes expenses for housing, food, transportation, entertainment, utilities, health insurance, and so on. In this article, we will exclusively discuss the living expenses borne by international students while studying in the Netherlands.

Cost of living in the Netherlands: Highlights 

Annual cost of living  €9,600-€13,200
Annual housing expenses  €3,600-€7,200
Annual food expenses  €2,400
Annual transportation expenses  €1,080
Annual health insurance  €480-€1,200 
Annual expenditures on personal items and leisure €1,560-€1,800

Breakdown of living expenses in the Netherlands


The first thing that international students should do after receiving their acceptance letter is– search for housing. Due to the scarcity of available housing during the peak semester season, finding a nice and affordable place is challenging. You can either check for on-campus housing via your university office or go through the following websites of public and private housing providers in the Netherlands:

  • Clawq
  • DUWO
  • Nestpick
  • Pararius
  • RentSlam
  • ROOM
  • SSH Student Housing
  • The Social Hub
  • Uniplaces

Note: This list is not exhaustive and includes only a few popular websites listed on the “Study in NL” website.

The average cost of housing in the Netherlands ranges between €300 and €600 a month (€3,600 and €7,200 a year). This amount can vary further depending on the city. For example, expensive cities like Amsterdam cost more than cheaper cities like Groningen. It is also crucial to consider the expenses of utilities such as gas, electricity, and water if they are not included in your rent. The utilities typically amount to €100-€200 per month. 


The university cafeterias in the Netherlands serve reasonably priced hot and delicious food. The city pubs called eetcafés too serve affordable meals. But the cheapest way to eat is by cooking your own food. On average food can cost you around €200 per month (€2,400 per year). 


The Netherlands has well-developed public transport systems. A monthly pass for public transport costs €90 (€1,080 a year). You can choose between a train, bus, tram, or metro. Bikes are also a great option to get around the city. To use public transport in the Netherlands, you need a smart card called OV-chipkaart. You can buy the card at stations or tobacco shops, costing €0.75. The card offers a 40% discount on fares for people traveling outside rush hours. 

Health insurance 

International students can choose between Dutch Basic insurance and private health insurance, depending on their needs. Students who intend to work while studying must obtain Dutch Basic insurance, which costs between €90 and €110 per month (€1,080 and €1,320 per year). If you are only studying, you can get private health insurance for €40 per month or €480 per year. 

Personal items and leisure 

Annual expenditures on personal items and leisure totally depend on the student’s spending habits. Expenses on personal items include the phone bill, internet, books, clothing, etc. The entertainment cots include shopping, out-city travel, movies, gym, pubs, etc. On average these costs can amount to €130 to €150 a month or (€1,560 to €1,800 per year). 

Living expenses in major student cities in the Netherlands

According to Campus Advisor 2022, the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Groningen, and Utrecht are among the top 30 student cities in the world. Let’s have a look at how much it costs to live in each city.

Cost of living in Amsterdam

This Dutch capital city is a highly attractive and accessible city for international students. The average living expense in Amsterdam is €1,500 per month or €18,000 per year.

Particulars  Monthly Costs (€)
Housing  €925
Food €200
Transportation  €40 to €100
Insurance  €100 
Additional costs  €200

Cost of living in Groningen

The city of Groningen is known for its artsy vibe. It is home to numerous museums, nightlife, and world-class festivals like Noorderzon, Eurosonic, Kingsland, Kadepop, etc. The average monthly cost of living in this city adds up to €1,012 or €12,144 per year. 

Particulars  Monthly Costs (€)
Housing  €350 to €650
Food €150
Transportation  €62
Insurance  €100 
Additional costs  €200

Cost of living in Utrecht

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and is home to the world-famous Utrecht University. Located 30 miles south of Amsterdam, it is known as the medieval center of Holland. The average cost to live in this city adds up to €1,190 per month or €14,280 per year. 

Particulars  Monthly Costs (€)
Housing  €500 to €700
Food €150 to €200
Transportation  €90
Insurance  €100
Additional costs  €200

Tips to manage the cost of living in Netherlands

Most international students in the Netherlands choose to live in off-campus shared apartments. Rent is cheaper and more affordable in this manner. Cafeteria food is less expensive than restaurant food. Some pupils also cook for themselves. A monthly public transit pass is excellent for students who want to save money on their student cards. There are two kinds of student identity cards:

  1. International Student Identity Card (ISIC): It is valid worldwide and offers discounts on travel, shopping, and museums
  2. CJP discount card: Provides discounts for festivals, museums, and shopping

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when planning for your stay in the Netherlands

  • Read your rental contract carefully before signing to avoid scams 
  • Before you accept a room, check if utilities like gas, electricity, internet, TV are included 
  • Check if the room you are booking in comes furnished or not 
  • For housing and rent issues you can contact your university admission office, Housing Hotline, or Rent Tribunal
  • You should buy OV-chipkaart to use public transport in the Netherlands  
  • Health insurance is mandatory to study and work while studying in the Netherlands 
  • Living in big student cities like Amsterdam costs higher than in smaller cities like Groningen and Utrecht
  • Do not overspend on shopping and leisure activities and use your student ID to avail discounts and benefits

For more information on cost of living in the Netherlands contact Gyanberry. 

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The annual average cost of living in the Netherlands is €9,600-€13,200.

Yes, as an international student, you can avail of discounts on travel, shopping, and entertainment using your ISIC and CJP discount cards.

The cost of housing in the Netherlands ranges between €300 and €600 per month, depending on the city.

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